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Archive for March, 2008

Into the home stretch

Posted by thepeteplan on March 31, 2008

Another afternoon in the heat chamber, but with session 6 of 10 now completed the trial will be over at the end of next week. Today was yet another 1hour40mins of continuous leg pressing. I am hoping that I will see a noticable difference once the trial is complete, and the faster sessions will take a step up in pace.

Monday as always is speed intervals day, and now into week 3 of cycle 2 that means back to the 4 x 1k.


2k warm up = 1:53 / 24

4 x 1k / 5min rest:

3:12.4 / 1:36.2 / 33

3:12.3 / 1:36.1 / 32

3:12.3 / 1:36.1 / 32

3:11.1 / 1:35.5 / 33

Totals = 12:48.0 / 1:36.0 / 33

Rest interval metres = 2922m

A 0.2sec improvement on the average split from 3 weeks ago, but also a much better paced session. Last time the pace faded over the session (1:35.9, 1:35.9, 1:36.2, 1:37.0), and so today I paced it properly going for the average split from last time on the first 3 reps. When I stick to this principle it’s very effective, as you know in your mind you have achieved this pace recently, and so have no mental doubts about doing so again.

Basingstoke IRC:

This weekend is the Basingstoke IRC, and my first race for some time. I will be racing in the 2500m, 300m, and 100m races in the 30+ heavyweight category. From the list of entrants in the 2500m race it should be a great race with a lot of people to push me to doing a fast time, and of those in the race in my category (the races are mixed categories) I should have a good chance of a medal, and maybe even a win. In the 300m I get to race on the erg next to my MAD Team team mate, who should be the fastest of the day by some distance. Not a distance I have ever raced before, or the 100m, so it should be an interesting experience. Both will be flat out, the 300m will just be a case of how far you can get before fading too badly.


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Faster cycling

Posted by thepeteplan on March 30, 2008

I put off training until late on Saturday and so decided to do a 30min cycle on the turbo trainer rather than use the erg. I would be interested if anyone has any knowledge or experience of how wattage and pace on a Tacx turbo trainer compares to cycling on the road (or track)?


30min cycle starting as a warm up and gradually speeding up throughout:

Average = 278watts / 26.1mph

Maximum = 476watts / 42.6mph

Distance = 13.1 miles

Crossed over the 300watt mark around half way, up to 330watts at 10mins to go, and with a pretty good sprint over the last couple of minutes.

Blog updates:

As you will see, I have added a page titled “Pete -v- Wolverine” to the blog. A question I often see asked is what the differences are between the Pete Plan and the Wolverine Plan, and which it is best to follow. To begin with I have put a link to both the full details of the Pete Plan and the Wolverine Plan, and I will add on there my thoughts on when each plan might be best for you. My comment about the WP document being 23pages long will perhaps hint to one of the reasons I first looked at making a simpler to follow training plan based on some of the principles of the WP.

Posted in Cycling | Leave a Comment »

Keep on pulling

Posted by thepeteplan on March 28, 2008

Another extended warm up today in the heat chamber, and back to the leg pressing. 1hour40mins of continous leg pressing marked the half way point in the trial, so only 5 sessions of this to go. I wasn’t sure until I sat on the erg in the gym quite what I was going to do today. The week’s interval sessions are already done, so I really needed a distance piece, but after the mental test of the long duration leg pressing I didn’t know if I could mentally handle a long steady erg afterwards. However, I set 10k and decided to make it mentally “easier” by going a little faster. I’m sure it made sense to me at the time.


10k = 35:10.9 / 1:45.5 / 28

2k splits:

1:44.9 / 28

1:45.1 / 28

1:45.2 / 28

1:46.9 / 27

1:45.5 / 28

It felt good until I hit a wall with about 4k to go. Stopping was never a consideration, I just had to slow down.

Following that just enough energy for one weights exercise:

Clean and press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8 reps


Only just over a week to the Basingstoke IRC where I plan to race both the 2500m and the 300m races in the 30+ category. I don’t really have a good idea yet what pace I will go at for the 2.5k, and it will be hard to do any good predictor sessions next week with the heat trials every other day. The 300m will just be pretty much flat out, and I would like to break 1:20 pace for that.

Posted in Fast distance | 1 Comment »

Hot and sweaty

Posted by thepeteplan on March 26, 2008

This afternoon was the first go on the bike in the heat chamber. 3 x 20mins with 20min rest inbetween, all the time in 45degrees C with 4 layers of clothing on. Even though the intensity on the bike was not high, I sweated a lot. However, as I’m due in the chamber again on Friday afternoon, and so can’t do a hard session tomorrow, there was no choice but to attempt the 4 x 2k afterwards. The average from 3 weeks ago (without the long warm up) was 1:41.1, but that was done using the last rep as a CTC mile attempt with the 4 x 2k splits of 1:42.2, 1:41.9, 1:41.5, 1:38.7. So rather than go for the average, I thought I would attempt to beat each rep.


500m warm up = 1:55 / 24

4 x 2k / 5min rest:

6:47.7 / 1:41.9 / 29

6:46.5 / 1:41.6 / 30

6:46.5 / 1:41.6 / 30

6:56.2 / 1:44.0 / 29

Ave = 27:17.0 / 1:42.3 / 29

One rep too far today, and the cumulative fatigue and dehydration caught up with me on the final rep. I was starting to cramp in my legs, upper arms, and even abs, so had to back off the pace and limp home, rather than stop. The first 3 reps beat the first 3 reps (on average) from 3 weeks ago, so a good session overall I think.

Posted in Distance intervals | 1 Comment »

It’s all uphill

Posted by thepeteplan on March 24, 2008

The second attempt at the speed pyramid session today in week 2 of cycle 2 of the Pete Plan. 1:34.1 average to beat from last time which means I should do the 250, 500 and 750 on the way up at exactly 1:34.1….


1k warm up = 1:54 / 24

250m = 46.6  / 1:33.2 / 35

500m = 1:33.5 / 33

750m = 2:20.3 / 1:33.5 / 34

1k = 3:09.8 / 1:34.9 / 34

750m = 2:20.9 / 1:33.9 / 35

500m = 1:33.7 / 35

250m = 44.8 / 1:29.6 / 38

Ave = 12:29.9 / 1:33.7 / 34

Overall an improvement of 2.9 seconds on the total session time, or 0.4 on the average split. I either went a bit too fast on the way up the pyramid, or didn’t put quite as much effort as I could have done into the 1k. It felt uphill all the way, so I’m inclined (no pun intended) to think that I should have stuck to the average from last time on the way up so that I could have been negative splitting from the 1k. All improvements are welcome on the interval sessions though, however they come.

An enforced day off tomorrow I think, as I have a 1 day conference to attend in London, and then a work social event in the evening. Then into the heat chamber again Wednesday afternoon for some cycling intervals this time, which may rule out the 4 x 2k on Wednesday evening I fear.

Posted in Speed Intervals | 1 Comment »

On your bike

Posted by thepeteplan on March 23, 2008

No training yesterday as I was out for a day trip into London. I was feeling tired anyway, so it was really a welcome rest day from training. I like to rest from the erg before a new week begins though, so opted for a cycle on the turbo this afternoon for my training. I did consider going for a run afterwards too, but the cold and possible snow put me off.


30mins cycle = 12.7miles

268watts / 25.2mph ave —- 312watts / 29.2mph max

Apart from sweating a lot by the end, a fairly comfortable cycle ride. I think if I wanted to do a hard 30mins I could do a short warm up then sit on 300watts for the 30mins, as I sat around that level for the last 10mins on this ride.

Posted in Cycling | Leave a Comment »

In your own little world

Posted by thepeteplan on March 21, 2008

When you are training hard on the erg it’s like you’re in your own little world. Things go on around you in the gym, but it is all just a little blurry outside of your erging bubble. I forget sometimes that there are sometimes 30+ other people in my little gym when I’m mid session. However, on a bank holiday weekend there is no-one. I arrived there at 11am and the lights and music were off, not a single person to be seen, perfect. On with the lights, on with the music, and on with the c-breeze:


Not one to give a session to people without being willing to do it myself, today I did a 30min rate 20 piece, as I had put that in Shirley’s programme for this week.


30r20 = 8319m / 1:48.1 / 20

5min splits:

1:47.9, 1:48.1, 1:48.2, 1:48.3, 1:48.6, 1:47.9 (all 20spm)


Clean and press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8

Chin ups = 3 sets of 3

Seated cable row = 49kg (max), 3 sets of 10

I haven’t done a 30r20 for quite some time. It’s one of those sessions that when it’s been a CTC challenge before I can do 20spm rowing to get better at it, and am then able to row it in the low 1:46’s, but I find it has a negative impact on my free rate distance rowing then. If I do more low rate rowing I simply get better at low rate rowing, hence not doing much of it. I do think that having some restricted rate, high power, sessions in your overall plan can be beneficial though, just not too much.

The clean and press I felt very quick and powerful on today, so will either add one more set, or a few more reps to each set, next time.

A day out tomorrow means probably no training (unless I am awake early enough for a quick cycle), which just means I will move my rest day and do a session Sunday instead.

Posted in Fast distance | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Scared of intervals?

Posted by thepeteplan on March 20, 2008

As discussed yesterday, because of the heat trial I moved my usual middle distance intervals from Wednesday to Thursday this week so I could have a better go at them. Week 1 of the cycle means 5 x 1500m, and with a target from 3 weeks ago of 1:41.1 average pace.


5 x 1500m / 5min rest:

5:01.4 / 1:40.4 / 30

5:01.0 / 1:40.3 / 30

5:00.4 / 1:40.1 / 31

4:59.6 / 1:39.8 / 31

4:58.5 / 1:39.5 / 31

Totals = 25:00.8 / 1:40.0 / 30

A pretty solid interval session. Though not my best on this session, with the current training load I think this is pretty good. It can get to a point on most sessions where you see a certain pace as a “barrier” to get past. 1:40 is always there in my mind on these type of sessions, and seeing 1:39’s on the monitor somehow feels a lot faster than 1:40’s, and as such going for sub 1:40 from the start can seem a lot harder than staying just above, and passing it at at the half way point. Next time obviously I will have to get all 5 reps under 1:40, but this was a good step to getting back there.

Scared of Intervals?

Many people seem quite apprehensive of interval training because it is seen as higher intensity than just doing single distance pieces. However there is no reason to make your first move into interval training by doing a series of flat out repetitions leaving you gasping for breath in a heap on the floor – instead you can work up to that.

Interval training is simply a method of letting you row for a certain duration at a faster pace than you can manage in one go, by splitting the distance up with short rest periods. So the obvious way to begin down this path is to row the intervals at a pace you could row the total distance at in one go, and then improve on that each time you attempt the same set of intervals. People in many athletic sports use interval training to great effect, and on the erg it is certainly a way to improve your paces across the range of distances.

You can keep it simple to start with. If you normally do a 30min row every day, try splitting that row into 2 x 15min rows, or 3 x 10min rows, with a 1 to 2min break between. Do the first 15mins, or the first 2 x 10mins, at the same pace you would normally row your 30min. Then for the final repetition row it just a little bit faster than your usual pace. At the end of the session take a note of the average pace for the full 30mins, which should be a little faster than your usual 30min rows, and use that as a pace to shoot for next time you do the same session. Again do the final of your repetitions a little faster.

As these intervals gradually increase in pace week after week, you will find you have the ability to row the 30mins as a single piece a little faster too. If you don’t currently do any interval training, just try this method as an introduction and see how it adds a new element to your training.

Posted in Distance intervals | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Low rate, high boredom

Posted by thepeteplan on March 19, 2008

This afternoon began with day 3 of the exercise in heat trial. Today was another 1hour 40mins of leg pressing in the heat chamber at 45 degrees C, with 4 layers of clothing on. This really tests your boredom threshold when all you have to listen to is a metronome beeping every 2 seconds. I made the mistake of doing some mental arithmetic at the 50min point, like I do on a long erg, only to calculate I had 1500 leg presses left to go. That didn’t help.


On to the gym following the extended warm up. As this was the last heat trial for this week I decided to leave the 5 x 1500m to tomorrow, but I also didn’t like the thought of doing any sort of steady distance following the above. So I decided on just a short session with a low rate 2k on the erg followed by a couple of weights exercises.

500m warm up = 1:56 / 23

2k = 6:53.3 / 1:43.3 / 21spm

1:43.9 / 21, 1:43.4 / 20, 1:43.1 / 21, 1:43.0 / 21

It was really supposed to be at 20spm, but I seemed to hit 21’s more than 20’s, hence 3 of the 4 splits coming out to 21spm. My leg speed was dulled a little from the leg pressing, but still not a bad 2k time at 21spm, and with slight negative splits.


Bicep curls = 16kg dumbbells, 3 sets of 8

Tricep cable pulldowns = 13.75kg, 3 sets of 10

5k training:

Those of you who have read the 5k training page will see that once every 3 weeks or so during the 12 week programme I have a 3 x 2k session in there. In the text preceeding the plan you will also see that this session is intended as a 2k practice with a fixed warm up and warm down. One possible way you could do these 2k’s is to restrict the rate like this, but increase the restriction by 2spm each time you do the session, and aim to increase the pace each time by a couple of seconds or so. These sessions can also be useful to practice different pacing plans for a 2k, and by using the standard warm up and warm down you can objectively assess which works best for you. By doing regular, slightly submaximal, 2k tests like this you can eliminate any fear or anxiety you might feel when you see 2000m set on the monitor. Most people avoid 2k whenever possible, to their detriment psychologically.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The mental side of erging

Posted by thepeteplan on March 18, 2008

A steady distance day on the Pete Plan today, but as I have the heat trial again tomorrow it means that today has to just be a little bit easier, and therefore I keep the duration down just a little. Is this absolutely necessary, or is it an excuse because I find the easy distance sessions mentally more taxing than the hard intervals? I will discuss the mental side of erging in a little more detail after giving the details of my training today. 


8k = 29:50.1 / 1:51.8 / 24

2k splits = 1:52.3, 1:52.0, 1:52.0, 1:51.0 (all 24spm)


Benchpress = 60kg, 3 sets of 8

Reverse grip bench press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8

Clean and press = 40kg, 3 sets of 8

A nice comfortable 8k, and a small amount of weight training to fill in the remaining time. It will be interesting the effect the extra training has on my weight if I’m able to keep up my normal training load on top of the heat trial. This morning I weighed in at probably about my lightest ever erging weight, 194.5lbs. When I train in this sort of volume I’m hungry all the time as well, so eating at least as many extra calories as those I’m burning from the extra exercise.

Mental erging:

The psychological side of erg performance is vital if you want to achieve close to your potential. The trouble is, it isn’t a “one approach fits all” aspect. Most people fit into two categories – those who find it mentally tough to push themselves hard in the interval training, and those who find it mentally tough to do the long steady distance work. There are a few people who don’t find an issue with either aspect of training, and probably quite a sizeable group who are just plain lazy, and don’t like to do anything too tough. I definitely fit in the second category. I don’t mind pushing myself to the limit week after week in the interval training, or hard distance pieces, but when it comes to slower distance work I find it a mental grind from start to finish.

When giving coaching advice to people it’s important both to know which group they fit in, and to consider the overall psychological aspects of erg training to make sure they are mentally ready to race as well as physically. I believe this is a problem with training too scientifically on the erg that it stops you from pushing on further and harder when you feel you are at the limit. Without this doing this occasionally in training, you won’t know how to do it when it comes to racing. Two mental aspects that I incorporate into all of my training, and that of the people I advise, are never slowing down on distance pieces, and always doing the last rep of interval training faster than the preceeding reps. After a while it just becomes natural, and you can’t help speeding up when you get in sight of the line.

Posted in Steady distance | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »